Lawmakers, stakeholders continue press for bid delay

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Thursday, August 6, 2020

WASHINGTON – West Virginia’s congressional delegation has asked CMS Administrator Seema Verma to delay Round 2021 of the competitive bidding program during the public health emergency.

The letter, spearheaded by Sens. Joe Manchin, D-West Va., and Shelley Capito, R-West Va., also seeks to extend the blended rates in both competitive and non-bid areas to “maintain stability and access across all parts of the country.”

West Virginia has lost 38% of providers in the past two years due to drastic reimbursement cuts, states the letter.

“West Virginia is a rural state and our seniors rely on the compassionate care that our small businesses provide, including home delivery, setup assistance, and prompt service when problems arise such as floods, snow storms, high winds and now the COVID-10 pandemic,” it states. “Without this type of service available, West Virginians who rely on DMEPOS products to survive will be put at risk.”

The letter was also signed by Reps. David McKinely, Carol Miller and Alex Mooney, all Republicans.

The Council for Quality Respiratory Care commended a bipartisan coalition of 101 lawmakers who endorsed a “Dear Colleague” letter in the House of Representatives last week.

The letter, spearheaded by Reps. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash., and Dave Loebsack, D-Iowa, asks CMS to pause the next round of the program for a year or through the duration of the public health emergency, whichever is longer.

“We commend these bipartisan legislative leaders for fighting on behalf of home respiratory suppliers and the vulnerable patients we serve,” said Crispin Teufel, chairman of the CQRC. “Amid this unprecedented health and economic crisis, restarting the bidding program on Jan. 1, 2021, would only serve to destabilize a sector already beleaguered by COVID-19. In order to help us maintain patient access to these lifesaving and life-sustaining treatments—especially for Medicare beneficiaries in rural areas—it is critical that CMS again suspend the program.”

 

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